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Journal impact metrics attempt to quantify the importance of a particular journal in its field, usually via an algorithm that takes into account the number of articles published per year and the number of citations to articles published in that journal. Like author impact measurements, journal impact measures have limitations. Dissatisfaction with existing metrics has contributed to the development of new metrics such that there are now quite a few. While these metrics do tell us something, researchers in a discipline will have the best sense of the top journals in their field.
Boxes on this page include descriptions of the more common journal impact metrics, as well as what tools to use to find the metrics.
Journal Citation Reports via Web of Science
You can access Journal Citation Reports (JCR), a product of Thomson Reuters, via Web of Science (look for the link to Journal Citation Reports under Products in the upper right at the top of the page). Published annually, JCR provides a number of journal impact measurements for journals in the sciences and social sciences. Reported metrics include Impact Factor, 5-year Impact Factor, Immediacy Index, Journal Citation Indicator, and others. Since 2007, JCR has also included Eigenfactor Metrics.
Indexes leading journals in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Allows cited reference searching. (ISI Web of Knowledge) [1900 - present]
Provides links to footnoted citations as well as sources that have subsequently cited an article. Includes the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (from 1975), Science Citation Index (from 1900), and Social Sciences Citation Index (from 1900).
Indexes journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, and book series in the sciences and more.
Contains over 50 million records with more than half the content originating from outside North America. Indexes over 21,000 journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, and book series in the sciences, technology, medicine, arts, and humanities.
The Sources tab is available via the top menu bar in Scopus. You can search for a particular journal (changing the drop-down menu to Title), or browse sources alphabetically or by subject.
Available metrics are CiteScore, SJR, and SNIP. More information on finding and using these metrics from the Sources menu is under Using the Sources List.
Google Scholar Metrics
Google Scholar Metrics includes a top 100 list of journals for particular subject fields ranked using their 5-year h-index. You can look at top journals in particular subject categories and sub-categories. The underlying data come from Google Scholar. Sections on Metrics, Coverage, and Inclusion tell you more about how the rankings were derived.
Highlights of Journal Metrics
Journal Impact Factor
Frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year or other defined time period using data from Journal Citation Reports.
The 'classic' Impact Factor uses a 2-year citation window, but a 5-year Impact Factor is also available.
Cannot be used to compare journals across disciplines.
Journal Impact Factor data is only displayed for journals in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) and the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). Titles indexed in the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) and the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) do not have JIFs calculated.
Eigenfactor: Measurement of the 'importance' or 'influence' of a journal. Citations from high-quality journals are weighted more than citations from lesser known journals.
Article Influence: Calculated by dividing the Eigenfactor by the number of articles published in the journal.
Both scores use a 5-year citation window, use data from Journal Citation Reports, and are meant to adjust for citation differences across disciplines, since different disciplines have different standards for citation and different time scales on which citations occur.
Journal Citation Indicator (JCI) is the average Category Normalized Citation Impact (CNCI) of citable items (articles & reviews) published by a journal over a recent three year period. The average JCI in a category is 1.
Uses data from Scopus, with a 3-year citation window.
Weighted by the prestige of a journal. Subject field, quality, and reputation of the journal have a direct effect on the value of a citation. SJR also normalizes for differences in citation behavior between subject fields.
The largest number h such that at least h articles in that publication were cited at least h times each. For example, a publication with five articles cited by, respectively, 17, 9, 6, 3, and 2, has an h-index of 3.
Google Scholar Metrics uses the h5-index, which is the h-index for articles published in the last 5 complete years.